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Saturday, Oct 25th

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Rick Perry indicted on two felonies

Rick Perry indictedGov. Rick Perry was indicted on two felony counts for abuse of official capacity and coercion of a public servant late Friday by a Travis County grand jury.

The case stems from Perry’s vetoing the $7.5 million biennial funding for the Travis County Public Integrity Unit last year. He threatened to withhold the money unless District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg resigned.

In announcing the indictment, special prosecutor Michael McCrum of San Antonio said he felt confident of the charges brought against the governor and was “ready to go forward.”

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GOP led House intel report on Benghazi finds no secret Obama scandal

benghaziA House investigation into the Benghazi embassy attack concluded that the Obama administration was not guilty of any deliberate, negligent wrongdoing, according to Rep. Mike Thompson (D-Calif.). Thompson told SFGate that the report, from a GOP-led panel, "confirms that no one was deliberately misled, no military assets were withheld and no stand-down order" was given to troops in the area.

The House Intelligence Committee voted last week to declassify the report, pending approval from security agencies.

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90 years on, push for ERA ratification continues

Equal Rights AmendmentDrafted by a suffragette in 1923, the Equal Rights Amendment has been stirring up controversy ever since. Many opponents considered it dead when a 10-year ratification push failed in 1982, yet its backers on Capitol Hill, in the Illinois statehouse and elsewhere are making clear this summer that the fight is far from over.

In Washington, congresswomen Jackie Speier, D-Calif., and Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., are prime sponsors of two pieces of legislation aimed at getting the amendment ratified. They recently organized a pro-ERA rally, evoking images of the 1970s, outside the U.S. Supreme Court.

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Tennesseans vote to retain Supreme Court justices targeted by Koch brothers

Tennessee judges re-electedIn a major defeat for Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, voters on Thursday voted to keep all three Tennessee Supreme Court justices in retention elections.

Chief Justice Gary Wade and Justices Connie Clark and Sharon Lee all survived to win new eight-year terms on the state's highest court, maintaining a margin of about 57 percent to 43 percent. While the justices were able to overcome a vigorous opposition campaign by Ramsey and others, who accused them of being "liberal," "soft on crime" and of helping Obamacare, their retention victories were by some of the smallest margins in recent history.

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Judge upholds North Carolina voter law for 2014 elections

North Carolia voter lawNorth Carolina's November election can be held under a new voting law approved by Republican lawmakers, a federal judge ruled Friday. The law is considered one of the toughest in the nation and the groups challenging it say it will suppress minority voter turnout.

U.S. District Court Judge Thomas D. Schroeder denied a motion seeking to hold the November vote under old rules, saying the groups failed to show they would suffer "irreparable harm."

"In the absence of the clear showing for preliminary relief required by the law, it is inappropriate for a federal court to enjoin a state law passed by duly-elected representatives," wrote the judge, who was appointed to the federal bench by Republican President George W. Bush.

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Obama officials, Senate intelligence panel spar over deletions from torture report

Torture report deletions— The Obama administration and the Senate Intelligence Committee are sparring over the administration’s deletions of fake names from the public version of a long-awaited report on the CIA’s use of harsh interrogation methods on suspected terrorists, McClatchy has learned.

The outcome of the debate could impact the clarity and narrative flow of the report, the product of the most intensive congressional investigation of CIA operations since lawmakers examined the agency’s role in the Iran-Contra arms-for-hostages scandal of the Reagan presidency.

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Does John Brennan Know Too Much for Obama to Fire Him?

Jphn BrennanWhen John Brennan assured the country that the CIA hadn't improperly monitored the Senate team that compiled a report on Bush-era torture, he fed us false information. That much is clear from Thursday's news that "the C.I.A. secretly monitored a congressional committee charged with supervising its activities."

Either the CIA director was lying or he was unaware of grave missteps at the agency he leads. There are already calls for his resignation or firing from Senator Mark Udall, Trevor Timm, Dan Froomkin, and Andrew Sullivan, plus a New York Times editorial airing his ouster as a possibility.

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